University of Calgary


The University of Calgary iGEM project is divided into 4 components: lab work, modelling, Second Life, and human practices. For a detailed description of what we've achieved in each of these sectors, please visit their respective pages below:

1. Biofilms & Bacterial Chatter
2. Modelling Bacterial Chatter
3. Synthetic Biology Interactive
4. Human Practices

Notebook and Parts


Welcome to the third stop of our tour! Below is a brief overview of our entire project. In order to complete our goals of furthering iGEM and synthetic biology through educational endeavors and the addition of a new, characterized, signalling system, our project has been divided into 4 MAIN components. We have the lab project: Biofilms & Bacterial Chatter, the modelling portion: Modelling Bacterial Chatter. As well, we have the Second Life project (Synthetic Biology Interactive), which is our primary outreach initiative. This is in addition to our other Human Practices endeavors, which include our work in examination of ethics, fundraising, and outreach. To begin, the tour will take you towards the lab project HERE.

The University of Calgary iGEM team goals for this year are to expand the focus of biology into different aspects. Our project is not just based on biological merit, but rather on other additional aspects such as mathematical modelling, Second Life as an educational tool, and community outreach. By examining different areas of education and knowledge, the promotion and awareness of synthetic biology can be heightened in the public community. This year, we are focusing on building a Synthetic Biology community of Alberta. Through proper training and education of individuals in Synthetic Biology, qualified individuals with sufficient accessibility to public funding for both academic and industrial based pursuit of Synthetic Biology can be achieved. This year’s project involves several components: wetlab, mathematical modelling, Second Life, marketing, fundraising, and outreach activities.

The focus of the wetlab component of the project is to construct a second bacterial cell-to-cell communication system for the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. The system that we will be focusing on this year is the Autoinducer-2 (AI-2) signalling system. Through completion of this component, there can be countless applications that can potentially benefit many industries. For more details about our signalling system, please see the lab section.

The mathematical modelling component of our project aims to develop differential and non-differential (membrane computing) models for predicting and evaluating the behaviour of our signalling system. This component involves the characterization of the signalling pathway. The Second Life portion of the project aims to create education tools for the training of future synthetic biologists in an accessible, user-friendly, virtual environment. Furthermore, using Second Life as a platform, the profile of Synthetic Biology and our project may be raised through marketing strategies targeted to the general Second Life audience.

Raising the profile of Synthetic Biology within Alberta will be accomplished through our marketing, fundraising and outreach activities. Attracting sponsors to our project will help fund our research and raise the awareness of the iGEM competition as well as to the possibility of investing in present and future synthetic biology-based companies within Alberta. Moreover, our outreach initiatives including holding a weeklong open-house for a high school student and presenting material at public events will provide exposure to Synthetic Biology and arouse interest in future synthetic biologists.